It is my pleasure to introduce, Charlene Newcomb, fellow historical fiction author. She agreed to a Q&A session with me and Charlene has shed light on her inspirations for writing historical stories with a mediaeval background and her latest publication on Robin Hood. So let’s dive in . . .
- Describe your writing space.
My favorite writing spot is a nice table in a coffee shop. I can usually be found at one of the local places 3 times a week with a hot latte. At home, I skip the desk and sit in an oversized chair or sofa, but to be honest – I’m more productive at the coffee shop.
- What time of the day do you usually write?
Mornings are best for me. Before I retired, I would often wake up early and write for 30-60 minutes before I left for work. But these days, I’m rarely on the computer before 8am.
- How do you research for your books?
I worked at a large university library which had biographies, general histories, social/cultural materials, etc., and access to online resources from books to journal articles. When the library didn’t have what I needed, I used interlibrary loan to borrow materials. Online searches frequently lead me down research rabbit holes where I discover more resources, and it seems like I’ve turned to those and my existing collection for my latest novel. Visiting places I’ve written about – though they’ve changed quite a bit since the 12th/13th centuries – has been an incredible experience.
- Where do you get your inspiration?
My medieval historical fiction was inspired by the Robin Hood BBC television series where Robin served King Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade. I delved into the actual history of the crusade, reading translated contemporary chronicles, biographies and other non-fiction. It was fascinating to read about those involved, about the politics, geography, religion, culture and society. I wanted to create fictional characters whose lives intersected with those famous folk.
- What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?
Knowing the history is one thing – and required, of course – but knowing the setting is critical. I had visited Nottingham Castle about two years before I knew I’d ever be writing about it in the 12th century.
The stone gatehouse took me back to medieval times, but surprise! It was a wooden structure in the late 1190s when my characters were there. My latest novel ROGUE takes place in 1216, and the gatehouse was still wooden at that time. The stone gatehouse dates to the 1260s. Very little remains of the medieval castle and grounds when you go through that gate, so I spent quite a few hours (days?) tracking down information about it.
- How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
Robin and his sons will have more dealings with bad King John. I have the opening of a ROGUE sequel in mind, and the ending is so clear in mind. (Sorry, no spoilers!) It’s just the 90,000+ words in the middle I still must muddle through. 🙂
- What do you like to do when you are not writing?
With friends and family being scattered across the U.S., I like to visit them virtually. Now that I am retired I have more time available for travel, too, so I try to see my family (including 3 grandsons) a couple of times a year. It is great being a grandparent, watching the little ones grow up!
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- If you could cure a disease, what would it be?
- What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special?
I love the beauty and grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and have been there close to a half dozen times.
1. Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
If I could be in Washington or Colorado – endless summer; and endless winter in Louisiana. (I know I’m cheating on the question, but I’m lucky I have the option to stay with family in those places!
2. Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
No. No way. How about a room full of kittens? 🙂
3. Tea or coffee
4. Hot or cold
5. Toilet paper – over or under
6. Morning person or night owl
7. Share a photo
8. Share a link to a favourite song
Rocky Mountain High/John Denver
Thank you so much, Char!
A knight sworn to keep a family secret.
A king who seeks revenge.
A daring plan to save one life…or condemn many.
England 1216AD. Sir Robert Fitzwilliam faithfully serves the English crown, but when the outlaw Allan a Dale, a childhood friend, is captured and thrown in the sheriff’s dungeons beneath Nottingham Castle, trouble is certain to follow.Allan’s days are numbered. Nothing would please King John more than to see an old nemesis hanged. Nothing except watching Robert’s estranged father, Robin, dangling dead from a rope beside him.When his father joins forces with the Hood gang to rescue Allan, enlisting the aid of friends and even the girl he loves, Robert must decide where his loyalties lie.
About the author
Charlene Newcomb, aka Char, writes historical fiction and science fiction. Her Battle Scars trilogy is set in the 12th century during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. It’s filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love. All 3 books are indieBRAG Medallion honorees; Book II is a Historical Novel Society Editors Choice, a finalist in the Chaucer Awards for pre-1750 Historical Fiction, and received an Honorable Mention from Writer’s Digest.
While medieval historical fiction has her under its spell at the moment, her writing roots are in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now known as Legends) where she published her first short story in 1994 in the Star Wars Adventure Journal. She published a scifi/space opera, Echoes of the Storm, which was awarded 1st in category in the Chanticleer International Book Awards in 2021.
US Navy veteran.
Mom to 3 grown, amazing people, grandma to 3 adorable boys.
She spends most of the year in Louisiana, but escapes summer heat and humidity visiting family in Washington and Colorado.
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